Public art can grow a community


From a Harley Davidson to a well proportioned building, there can be beauty created by the human hand. We can design something that has grace and beauty or something that does not. This is a choice that is made by someone in the process to an end. These choices impact the influence a creation has over those that encounter it in the future. If there is a nicely designed and maintained landscape, there is more care taken not to step on it and trample the beauty. Where there is a beauty created, the human spirit is lifted.

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So why does this matter? How does this shape human activity. In Roanoke, there was once a tall wall next to the road. The cars driving through this neighborhood traveled at a high-speed just passing through. A neighborhood came together and decided this wall needed beauty. So they went through the process to get permission, hire an artist, organize volunteers and painted the wall. The result now is that cars slow down to look at the wall. The yards surrounding the wall across the street are kept a little more manicured than before. The restaurant across the street is going to be renovated because “corporate thinks it should be a better resident in such a beautiful neighborhood.” Even better, the community came together, got to know each other, and crime rates went down. This is the power of design. When you introduce beauty to an object, it radiates out into those experiencing the place.

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This is the power of a beautifully designed outdoor park in the middle of a downtown. It brings people together, inspires creativity, sparks economic growth, reduces crime, and empowers those living in the place.

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However, it is not just the walls that need painted or parks that can be built. It is the everyday objects that impact our lives. We need design even in our benches and buildings because we need beauty. It brightens our spirits and in this day and age of so much turmoil, we all need brightness.

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